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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

GREEK EDUCATION                        29

the Pythagorean theorem from an ignorant slave boy by a series
of deft questions, and shows that the idea of it was implicit in
his mind; and it is possible that the historic Socrates may
have anticipated Plato's theory of ideas by seeking in similar
fashion for the underlying principles in mathematics and in
subjects other than ethics.

The seminal doctrine that virtue is knowledge of the good
and therefore capable of being taught revealed its ambiguity
as soon as the disciples of Socrates attempted to give it practical
form. It became evident from their contentions about the
nature of goodness that Socrates had not succeeded in defining
the supreme ethical idea, and various difficulties of real con-
sequence for education began to arise. Socrates had distinguished
very sharply between the people who know definitely the meaning
of goodness and those who do not* What about the man whose
habits were good, but who lacked this essential knowledge ?
What (more particularly) about the undeveloped child who
could not in the first instance have any knowledge of principles ?
In what sense, if any, could these be called good ? If they were
not good, how could they ever know what goodness was ? These
were the questions that presented themselves to Xenophon and
Plato, the two members of the Socratic company who in their
different ways made the education of the young their special
concern. And in answering them both were compelled to depart
considerably from the teaching of the master.

Of the two, Xi'NoraoN (435-354 B.C.) diverged the further
from Socrates, probably because he understood him less. Up
to a certain point, he accepts the Socnitic view that the way
to make a man good is to make him intelligent. But the goodness
he has in mind is not the goodness of a virtuous life so much
as goodness in some particular line of work; and the intelligence
he commends is not the intelligence that comes from culture,
but the intelligence required for the performance of one's proper
duties, Accordingly, in his biography of Socrates, The Memor*
abilia of Socrates, he delights in showing his master talking to
all sorts of people about their work and leading them to more
intelligent conceptions of it. It is this idea too that underlies
his treatment of the education of women in his book &n Economics,
or Household Management, True to the Athenian view, according
to which (in the words of Pericles) the glory of a woman is ** not